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Captain America

Captain America 1990

It’s Monday night, and even though I’m already headlong into this project it’s January 2nd and I’m ready to get started on the first movie of the year. I had someone suggest to me to watch the old Captain America movie so I looked it up. It was on my list, but I didn’t really know anything about it and honestly, I don’t even know that much about Captain America. I know the basics, he was created in World War II through America’s Super Soldier program to fight Nazis and he was frozen for a while somehow. I’ve seen him in the Marvel Animated DVD Ultimate Avengers, but that’s about it. And of course I know about the new movie that came out last year with Chris Evans but I haven’t gotten around to watching it. That’s another reason why I agreed with the suggestion to watch the old Cap, this gives me a chance to finally watch the new Cap in a few days or so. But this isn’t the new Cap, it’s the old Cap. And it’s not the old cheesy motorcycle helmet Cap that I originally thought it was. Those DVDs came out recently to cash in on the new movie and I’ve seen them in Wal-Mart, but this movie hasn’t seemed to have made a comeback. If you’ve checked out my list for this year, you might know that I’m limiting the movies I’m watching for the moment to theatrically released movies, and those Motorcycle helmet ones were either direct to video or made for TV. This one was actually released in theaters.

Mostly because I had never heard of it, and it’s one of those barely spoken of things, I was expecting a train wreck of a movie. And this just plain isn’t it. Yes the costume looks pretty bad, the action scenes are extremely low budget and badly edited to try and cope with that fact, and there are some implausibilities. But honestly that’s a minor part of the movie and the rest of it was pretty interesting and kept me hooked. That is until it throws me a hunk of major cheese, I have a great laugh at it, but then I’m back in the movie. It starts off confusing enough in Nazi Germany where some soldiers come in, take a smart kid, and kill his entire family while making him watch. They show off a smart, strong, stop motion or animatronic rat that doesn’t have any skin for some reason and appear to do the same thing to the kid. One of the German scientists is horrified by some part of it and runs off. 7 years later, that same scientist is working for the Americans to use the same process to some unsuspecting American schlub, though somehow she worked the whole creepy skinless kink out of the process.

They really skim over the whole Steve Rogers part of the origin, he’s in love with some girl named Bernie of all things, has an “it’s alive” moment and immediately saves the day from a Nazi spy trying to take down the whole operation, killing the ex-nazi scientist and wounding Steve. But the super serum works quickly and Steve is ready to go after the one behind it all or something like that. There’s a quick exposition explaining the fire-proof tacky suit and shield. Sorry, they don’t explain the shield, they just ask Steve if he got enough practice with it. Why would anyone practice with a shield? That doesn’t make any sense… unless you already know about Captain America, and if you do then they shouldn’t need to explain the suit either. He didn’t even spend a whole lot of time in the suit. He wears it in the first fight scene with the Red Skull, and then not really until the final fight scene. Which I didn’t have a problem with since the costume didn’t look all that great. I couldn’t believe they got straight to the fight between the main villain and the hero so soon. I mean, it was badly edited and Cap ends up strapped to a rocket and makes the Red Skull cut his own hand off with a little switchblade by moving slightly to the left. But the Red Skull did look pretty wicked. Even Bernie later on had some pretty passable old age makeup.

It’s pretty easy to talk about the silly things in this movie: kicking the rocket to avoid the white house at the last moment and ending up in Alaska instead? The boy taking photos of the white house at night capturing said rocket and then growing up to be the President? The President joining in at the end and taking out hired thugs with one punch? But aside from all that, the characters were very well played and I was really interested in them. Steve Rogers was a great character, he was pretty smart, cared about the people who were helping him, and resourceful. I loved the joke where he said he felt sick and used it as an excuse to steal the car, twice. I thought the relationship between him and Bernie’s daughter was well done and she played a pretty good role as well. And the Red Skull just had some major presence. I can’t speak for his accent but he chewed major scenery in every scene he was in, and I mean that in a good way.

I haven’t mentioned Jena much in this review because once again, she was MIA for a lot of it and talking up a storm about random things while she was there. She was there for the beginning and she reacted to the first bit of movie violence that we’ve seen so far and I briefly commented on in an earlier blog. Captain America gets shot up during his first moments as a super soldier and Jena asks “did his shirt die?” since it had a lot of movie blood on it. And of course he was pretty much better in the next scene so she was ok with it. Shortly afterward she went off and started playing with her toys instead. If you can find this movie anywhere and can overlook a little cheese/low budget effects I would recommend checking this movie out. Until next time this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.

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About Bubbawheat

I'm a comic book movie enthusiast who has watched and reviewed over 300 superhero and comic book movies in the past four years, my goal is to continue to find and watch and review every superhero movie ever made.

Posted on January 15, 2012, in 90's movies, Marvel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Ahhh nostalgia perhaps, but from what I can remember it was a very film, completely underrated. I have watched this movie many times on VHS back in the day, and I remember loving the heck out of it. Would probably be cheesy and dated by today’s standards, but part of me kinda think that perhaps those were the better days. Heh, I guess it could just be our society being more cynical perhaps, being more conditioned by Hollywood and their billion dollar budgets. Or perhaps it’s just the world belonging to the younger folks, and me becoming an old fossil and showing my age. Heh, feeling ancient at age 31 and wanting to chase kids off lawns .

    I actually prefer this older version of Captain America. Everything wasn’t shiny and glamorous, and peppered with corny humour like the recent incarnation. The baddy wasn’t all powerful, and neither was the hero, and no one were waving alien cosmic ray guns around. And sure the costumes and makeup weren’t perfect, but I thought it made the film gritter, and at the same time more down to earth and believable.

    In contrast, in the new movie everyone looked like supermodels; everyone fought like superheroes; the good guys are all seemingly unkillable, and appears to be super lucky; and they were zooming all over saving the day at every corner… I enjoyed it, but it was just so- well, Hollywood.

    Like I said could be I kinda miss the sense of wonder I used to get in the 80s and 90s, and the whole “hey that could be me” feeling I get watching these older movies and cartoons, or reading these older comics. It’s a feeling that I just don’t get with modern day Hollywood unfortunately.

    Anyways interesting read.

  2. er- very good* film. Typo.

  3. I saw this one on TV when I was a youngster but it’s been impossible to find since. I don’t remember many of the details except that the Red Skull make-up was pretty badass. And did he have a bike in the back of a van? Or was that the other made for TV one?
    Anyway, bit of trivia for you: the guy playing Cap, Matt Salinger, is JD Salinger’s son!

    • Yeah, I don’t think the bike in the back of a van was this movie. Unless my memory is failing me already. And I totally agree about the Red Skull makeup. I especially liked how his real face makeup wasn’t perfect, that’s something else that bugged me a little bit in the new movie. We can barely make makeup that realistic nowadays, how could they make such a perfect face mask back then?

  4. I’m interested in the comments that say Cap is portrayed as ‘too’ powerful in the new movie. I disagree completely. Cap is one of the weaker powered heroes in the marvel universe and yet one of the most influencial and strongest characters. Hollywood are having to pitch a guy with an armoured suit at the peak of technology, a magical god from norse mythology, an enormous green invulnerable monster and a bloke from the 40’s with a sensible haircut, as equal partners. Marvel can do it because it’s all fantasy. Hollywood have to make it believable or it just won’t sell to the general public. I think Cap was pitched just right, he’s not just a man, he’s a superman!

    • I never thought about it one way or the other as far as his power level in the new movie. It seemed superhuman, but that’s what I always thought Captain America was. It didn’t seem Superman or Hulk level of strength, just a couple jumps above normal, and didn’t seem out of the ordinary to me.

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